Thought Leader Series: What Comes First Chickens or Eggs? Organizing Your Cookbook

Diane Balch blogs about simplify and organizing your cooking and home at SimpleLivingEating.com.

Perfect Roast Chicken, Eggs in a Cloud, Vegetarian Chili … . all of the recipes you created or collected are scattered around your kitchen table. How on Earth can you organize them into one cookbook?

It doesn’t matter if your intention is to create a recipe book for your own personal use, or if you are putting together a family cookbook to print or share on line with siblings…you may even want to create a cookbook for public sale. Whomever the desired audience is, your recipe book needs to be well organized, so it can be both easy to use and enjoyable. Here are some common ways to organize your cookbook.

By Meals:

There are several ways cookbooks are traditionally structured; one of the most common is by meals.

    • Separate your printed recipes or computer files into folders titled with each meal of the day: breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, dessert.
  • Within each folder, alphabetize the recipes to make it a little easier for a person to locate a recipe within each chapter. For instance, in your breakfast chapter list your recipes in this order: Apple Turnovers, Banana Bread, Coffee Cake … . through the alphabet.

This organization system is very convenient for people who are trying to decide what to cook for a specific meal. Putting a cookbook together in this fashion works well if you have a fairly equal number of recipes for each type of meal of the day.

By Ingredient:

If you have a lot of recipes for specific ingredients instead of for many meals you may want to organize your cookbook alphabetically by the main ingredient of your dishes.

    • If your cookbook is about desserts you can begin with Apple recipes, followed by Banana recipes, Chocolate, … etc.
    • A book primarily about meat recipes can be organized starting with Beef, then, Chicken, Lamb, Pork, … and so on.
  • This style of ordering recipes works really well for vegetarian cookbooks: each chapter can be dedicated to a different vegetable: Asparagus, Broccoli, Cabbage, etc.

Just remember this layout works best if you have recipes made primarily with the same ingredient.

By Season:
If your collection of recipes is broad, try organizing your recipes by season. Group recipes into collections of Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer meals.

  • Within each season’s section you can subdivide your recipes by meals: Fall Breakfasts, Fall Lunches, etc. or you can just alphabetize them like this sample Fall section: Apple Fritters, Brussels Sprout Casserole, Chesnut Pie etc.

Arranging a cookbook by season is currently a very popular way to put together a cookbook. Many chefs are selling seasonal cooking guides which encourage people to buy local and in-season ingredients for both environmental and flavor enhancement reasons.

However you decide to layout your cookbook: by meals, ingredients, or seasons, Bookemon has the software to help you put your cookbook together into a creative and profession publication.